The curriculum for the MA in Theology has been developed from the competency goals identified by three key associations for ministry; namely, the National Association for Lay Ministry, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc., and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.
Rev. Joseph T. Merkt, S.T.D., in Common Formation Goals for Ministry, has summarized the competency-based certification standards for these organizations. Three competency areas are delineated: theological,
professional, and personal.
The theological competency goals form the centerpiece of the ODU curriculum. ODU offers courses in biblical, historical, systematic, pastoral theology, and a thesis option. Students whocomplete this program will be prepared for further academic study as well as for ministry.
- The professional competency goals that contribute to success in ministry are addressed through various electives. There are Special Topics courses (THL 685), opportunities for Independent Study (THL 686), and an Internship in Ministry (THL 697).
- The personal competency goals are central to the preparation of candidates for ministry, but are not an immediately visible aspect of the program of studies. This aspect of the program is primarily addressed in the opportunities provided for retreats, mentoring, spiritual direction, etc.
For the students choosing a Non-Thesis option, these competencies will be assessed through the portfolio requirements (see THL 700). One section of the portfolio will be devoted to documentation of meetings with mentors (or similar activities) and reflective essays that address
All three sets of competencies identified by the pertinent national associations for ministry are the focus of the required Integrative Seminar (THL 700).
Upon completion of the Master of Arts in Theology a student will have acquired not only a deeper understanding of the theological insights of Catholic Christianity, but will also have addressed his or her personal appropriation of this tradition as well as its ministerial implications.